The German Polity

The German Polity

Eric Langenbacher


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This thoroughly revised and updated edition provides a comprehensive introduction to contemporary Germany, one of the world’s foremost economic and political powers. During a series of profound crises over the last decade, including migration challenges, Brexit, and the Covid-19 pandemic, Germany has emerged as the undisputed leader of the European Union. One of the world’s strongest economies, it exports goods, services, and ideas around the world. In foreign policy, it has taken on a more prominent role, especially with its pursuit of soft power. Yet, as adept as German policy making has been, the challenges have produced strains that reveal the limits of German influence. Moreover, after sixteen years in power, Chancellor Angela Merkel will retire and new leadership will guide the country through the 2020s.

Looking back, Eric Langenbacher traces the country’s transformation since the seminal turning points of 1945 after World War II and 1990 after reunification. Looking to the present, the author explains and assesses its major institutions, actors, and issues. Looking forward, he explores the looming economic, security, and demographic challenges Germany must address in the years to come.


Eric Langenbacher:

Eric Langenbacher is a teaching professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University and director of the Society, Culture, and Politics program at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies in Washington, DC.